Call Credit Spreads

Introduction to Call Credit Spreads

Call Credit Spreads are a pivotal strategy in options trading, offering traders a way to capitalize on market movements with defined risk. This strategy involves selling a call option at a specific strike price while simultaneously buying a call option at a higher strike price. By doing so, traders can generate a credit from the premium difference, making it a popular choice for those seeking to enhance their trading toolkit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Call Credit Spreads: A strategy involving selling and buying call options with different strike prices.
  • Risk Management: Defined risk with a known maximum potential loss.
  • Profit Potential: Limited to the net credit received from the option spread.
  • Cost Efficiency: Comparatively lower fees, making it a more economical option strategy.
  • Margin Requirement: Based on the maximum potential loss, often less than that required for uncovered call trades.
  • Strategy Suitability: Most effective in stable to slightly bearish market conditions.
  • Execution Strategy: Requires careful selection of strike prices, expiration dates, and ongoing monitoring of market conditions.
  • Risk Factors: Primary risk involves the underlying stock rising significantly above the strike price of the sold call.

Call Credit Spread Profit / Loss Diagram

Let’s plot this strategy so we can visually see how the trade P/L performs (y axis), at expiration, given a particular stock price (x axis).

Call Credit Spread Diagram from IntraAlpha
Call Credit Spread Diagram

Here are the underlying contracts represented in the graph above.

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4
Type Call Call -Select- -Select-
Long/Short Long Short -Select- -Select-
Strike 110 90 100 100
Premium 2 12 5 5
Quantity 1 1 1 1

Understanding Call Credit Spreads

At its core, Call Credit Spreads involve two key elements: call options and spreads. The strategy is executed by selling a call option, which gives the buyer the right but not the obligation to buy a stock at a set price, and buying another call option with a higher strike price. This spread results in a net credit to the trader’s account, which is the maximum profit potential. The risk, however, is limited to the difference between the two strike prices minus the credit received.

Long Call Credit Trades

Let’s delve into a practical example with XYZ Corporation. Imagine XYZ is trading at $100, and you execute a Call Credit Spread. You sell a call option with a strike price of $105 and buy another call option with a strike price of $110, expiring in 45 days. The premium received from this trade could be, for instance, $300, which is your maximum profit. The maximum loss is the difference between the strike prices ($500) minus the premium received, totaling $200.

Commissions and Fees with Call Credit Spreads

Trading Call Credit Spreads can be relatively cost-effective. Assuming each leg of the trade incurs a $1 fee, a round-trip trade would cost $4 in commissions. If we consider the earlier XYZ Corporation example, where the total credit received was $300, the commission would be about 1.33% of the trade’s total value, making it a cost-efficient strategy compared to others that might have higher fee structures.

Margin Impact of Call Credit Spreads

Using the XYZ Corporation example, where the stock is trading at $100, the margin requirement is primarily determined by the spread’s risk. In our case, with a $5 spread (between $105 and $110 strike prices), and a $300 credit received, the margin requirement would be $200 ($500 spread risk minus $300 credit), impacting your available margin accordingly.

Benefits and Risks of Call Credit Spreads

Call Credit Spreads offer several benefits, such as defined risk, potential for profit in various market conditions, and lower capital requirement compared to outright stock purchases. However, risks include limited profit potential and the possibility of maximum loss if the market moves significantly against the position.

Proven Tips for Success with Call Credit Spreads

Successful trading with Call Credit Spreads involves careful market analysis, understanding of the underlying asset, and risk management. Monitoring market trends, choosing the right strike prices, and setting appropriate risk-reward ratios are crucial for effective trading.

Real-Life Call Credit Spread Examples

Continuing with XYZ Corporation, imagine the stock price remains below $105 at expiration. In this scenario, both options would expire worthless, allowing you to keep the entire $300 credit as profit. However, if XYZ rises above $110, the maximum loss of $200 would be realized.

When and Why Traders Use Call Credit Spreads

Traders often turn to Call Credit Spreads in moderately bearish or neutral market conditions. The strategy is used when they anticipate that the underlying asset will not rise above the sold call’s strike price. The goal is to capitalize on time decay and volatility contraction, allowing traders to pocket the premium as income.

How Call Credit Spreads Work

The mechanics of Call Credit Spreads revolve around selling a call option at a lower strike price and buying another call option at a higher strike price. The difference in premiums results in a net credit, which is the trader’s maximum profit. The trade-off is a capped profit potential and a defined risk.

Are Call Credit Spreads Risky?

While Call Credit Spreads have a defined risk, they are not without hazards. The risk-to-reward ratio is typically unfavorable, as the maximum loss potential is usually higher than the maximum gain. It’s crucial for traders to thoroughly understand the strategy and have a risk management plan in place.

Are Call Credit Spreads Bearish or Bullish?

Call Credit Spreads are generally considered a bearish to neutral strategy. They are best utilized when the trader expects the underlying asset to decline slightly or remain relatively stable.


Mastering Call Credit Spreads is essential for traders looking to diversify their strategies in options trading. While offering a method to earn premium with defined risk, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of this strategy, including its benefits, risks, and appropriate market conditions for use. For further guidance and support in trading Call Credit Spreads, feel free to message us on or join our Discord community.

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